Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation as a strong leader. Sure, he managed to hold the league together by a thread last summer during the what might not be known as the first Big 12 Missile Crisis. Whether he and the league can weather the second seems unlikely, but this second crisis doesn't currently have a timetable for a resolution.
So Beebe finally decided to do something about it, choosing to lob whatever salvo he could muster at Texas A&M in an attempt to at least move the process along and achieve some certainty:
I think the members deserve to know what Texas A&M’s intentions are going forward regarding the conference.
Oh, look, the Big 12 has a commissioner! And he's posturing!
According to Beebe, this aggression towards the Big 12 just cannot stand, man. It can't drag on indefinitely:
I would suggest that would be an untenable position. We can’t operate with an institution waiting to decide if it wants to remain in the conference. There has to be a very short time for an institution to commit.
The comments from Beebe almost seem laughable. After all, the Aggies are clearly going to do what they want, regardless, with little fear of recourse from a commissioner who may not even have a conference to govern at this time next year.
The only course of action that Beebe may have is to ask for another commitment from A&M -- similar to the one the school made last summer that meant virtually nothing -- with the new commitment setting out damages the Aggies would have to pay for leaving the conference. And that on top of the exit fees the Big 12 would surely pursue anyway.
It's not clear at this point whether Beebe has the ability to put a deadline to make a decision on A&M and it seems unlikely that the school would agree to another pledge of loyalty to a conference to which it has no loyalty, especially if it would lock the Aggies into greater penalties than already imposed by the already existing exit fee -- that simply makes no sense for A&M.
So even if the SEC does opt to hold off on expansion talks -- until the spring, for instance -- and the Aggies do end up staying in the conference for another year or more, the relationship between Texas A&M and the league is heading down a path of no return.
It's a relationship with increasing acrimony that will only build if Beebe does end up putting a deadline on a decision. And in a stand off like that, can anything good for the league's continued existence come from it?
As it has for over a year now, the Big 12 looks like a dead conference walking, no matter what the often impotent commissioner thinks he can do about it. What are you going to do about it, Beebe?